How To: Train for your first marathon

January 10, 2014

Two months ago I ran my first marathon and had a blast! I knew nothing about running over 13.1 miles. I thought I just started adding on miles week after week and everything would be okay. Yeah... no. I ran, I overtrained, I was exhausted, I kept running, but I successfully ran 26.2 miles. One thing that's different- training for a half I usually go up to ten miles before race day and training for the full I ran twenty miles. That's a huge difference! 

I thought to provide any one else out there with tips on how to train for your very first marathon:

1. Train day by day

After searching different training plan websites, I found a training plan that fit my schedule and me as a runner with starting off simple and building up to the peak week of training (aka the 20 miler).

When I was looking at each weekend, I began to freak out about however many weeks later I would be running 14, 16, 18, 20 miles. I have never ran that far in my life! How am I supposed to run that now? One thing that helped me was printing out my training plan and crossing each day off as it came.

2. Forget pace

Seriously, forget when your Garmin tells you how fast/slow you are running and just look at distance. It's easy for runners to start comparing themselves to other runners when really everyone is different and everyone is training for different goals and races. Just focus on your running and completing those miles.

3. Training will be hard

This should be number one. I'm going to tell you what my dad told me.. you have to really want to run a marathon to be successful in training. And it's true. You have to really really want to run twenty six point two freaking miles to keep your head up when the days become exhausting.

4. Eat, eat, and then eat some more

One thing I found out in training is that I need a lot more food than I thought. I thought I was eating a lot while training but I ended up overtraining because I wasn't eating enough. I usually eat three meals with one snack. During training I had four meals and two to three snacks per day and was still hungry.

5. Pack everything a few days before race morning

Race day outfit, change of clothes, gels, salt tablets, running shoes, headband, charged watch and Ipod, fuel belt, extra drinks, etc..

Get everything organized a couple days in advance so you know what you have or what you still need. Usually the expo has a bunch of necessities in case you forget about something.

6. Calm down

It is race day, you are nervous, you just puked, you have no idea what you are doing at the start line... scratch that because that was probably just me. BE CONFIDENT. You have trained for weeks you are ready!

7. Smile for the camera

Smile for those race day pictures! It keeps you focused on having fun!

8. Run for the finish line not the finish time

I know a lot of runner's, including me, like to have a goal pace for each race. When you are running your first marathon if you think about a goal time you probably won't enjoy the race. I had a goal time in mind but scratched it out when I realized that running to the finish is so much more important than any time I get. No matter what your time is, you will be a marathoner! And there will be many more marathons to run where you can focus on finish time.

Oh, and you may want to test out your race day outfit before race day. You know, so your top doesn't get wet/sweaty, become a cropped top, and all your race day photos include your belly button. I'm not talking about me here...

Now go find a training plan and run.
Happy marathon training!!


  1. I love this! Someday I will do a marathon :) do you have have plans for another? I actually am missing training because I'm not as hungry anymore! We can eat so much while training!

    1. Thanks! You should, it's an awesome distance! I know I am running one this year but I am still deciding on when.. it will either be in April or in December. Haha yes!


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